Indonesian killings of 1965–66

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The Indonesian killings of 1965–1966 were an anti-communist purge following a failed coup of the 30 September Movement in Indonesia. The most widely accepted estimates are that more than 500,000 people were killed. The purge was a pivotal event in the transition to the "New Order" and the elimination of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) as a political force. The upheavals led to the downfall of President Sukarno and the commencement of Suharto's thirty-year presidency.

The failed coup released pent-up communal hatreds which were fanned by the Indonesian Army, which quickly blamed the PKI. Communists were purged from political, social, and military life, and the PKI itself was banned. The massacres began in October 1965, in the weeks following the coup attempt, and reached their peak over the remainder of the year before subsiding in the early months of 1966. They started in the capital, Jakarta, and spread to Central and East Java and, later, Bali. Thousands of local vigilantes and army units killed actual and alleged PKI members. Although killings occurred across Indonesia, the worst were in the PKI strongholds of Central Java, East Java, Bali, and northern Sumatra. It is possible that over one million people were imprisoned at one time or another.

Sukarno's balancing act of "Nasakom" (nationalism, religion and communism) had been unraveled. His most significant pillar of support, the PKI, had been effectively eliminated by the other two pillars—the army and political Islam; and the army was on the way to unchallenged power. In March 1967, Sukarno was stripped of his remaining power by Indonesia's provisional Parliament, and Suharto was named Acting President. In March 1968, Suharto was formally elected president.

The killings are skipped over in most Indonesian history books and have received little introspection by Indonesians. Satisfactory explanations for the scale and frenzy of the violence have challenged scholars from all ideological perspectives. The possibility of a return to similar upheavals is cited as a factor in the "New Order" administration's political conservatism and tight control of the political system. Vigilance against a perceived communist threat remained a hallmark of Suharto's thirty-year presidency.

Despite a consensus at the highest levels of the American and British governments that it would be necessary "to liquidate Sukarno," as related in a CIA memorandum from 1962,[1] and the existence of extensive contacts between anti-communist army officers and the US military establishment (including the training of over 1,200 officers, "including senior military figures," by the US military, and also providing weapons and economic assistance[2][3]), the CIA denies active involvement in the killings. It was later revealed that the American government provided extensive lists of communists to Indonesian death squads.[4][5][6] A top-secret CIA report stated that the massacres "rank as one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century, along with the Soviet purges of the 1930s, the Nazi mass murders during the Second World War, and the Maoist bloodbath of the early 1950s."[7]

Background[edit]

Major General Suharto (at right, foreground) attends a funeral for generals assassinated on 5 October 1965

Support for Sukarno's presidency under his "Guided Democracy" depended on his forced and unstable "Nasakom" coalition between the military, religious groups, and communists. The rise in influence and increasing militancy of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and Sukarno's support for it, was a serious concern for Muslims and the military, and tension grew steadily in the early and mid-1960s.[8] The third-largest communist party in the world,[9] the PKI had approximately 300,000 cadres and a full membership of around two million.[10] The party's assertive efforts to speed up land reform frightened those who controlled the land and threatened the social position of Muslim clerics.[11] Sukarno required government employees to study his Nasakom principles as well as Marxist theory. Sukarno had met with Zhou Enlai, leader of the People's Republic of China. After this meeting he decided to create a militia, called a Fifth Force, which he intended to control personally. He ordered weapons from China to be used to equip this Fifth Force. He declared in a speech that he favored revolutionary groups whether they were nationalist, religious or communist stating "I am a friend of the Communists, because the Communists are revolutionary people.[12]" Sukarno said at a Non-Aligned summit meeting in Cairo (1964) that his current purpose was to drive all of Indonesian politics to the left and thereby to neutralize the "reactionary" elements in the army that could be dangerous for the revolution.[13] Sukarno's international policies increasingly reflected his rhetoric.

Coup attempt[edit]

On the evening of 30 September and 1 October 1965, six generals were killed by a group calling themselves the 30 September Movement. With many of Indonesia's top military leaders either dead or missing, Suharto, one of the most senior surviving generals, assumed control of the army after a day of chaos, during which Sukarno refused to commit himself to either side.[13] By 2 October Suharto was firmly in control of the capital and announced that a coup attempt had failed. The military blamed the coup attempt on their arch enemies the PKI.[14]

On 5 October, the day of the dead generals' funeral procession, a military propaganda campaign linking the coup attempt with the PKI began to sweep the country.[14] Graffiti slogans and newspaper headlines referred to the coup attempt and the perpetrators as Gerkang/PKI, Gestapu/PKI, and Gestok/PKI.[15] The campaign convinced both Indonesian and international audiences that the murders were cowardly atrocities committed by the PKI against Indonesian heroes, and that the coup attempt was intended to undermine the Indonesian Revolution and overthrow President Sukarno.[14][15] The PKI's denials of involvement had little effect.[16] Pent-up tensions and hatreds that had built up over years were released.[17]

Political purge[edit]

The army removed top civilian and military leaders it thought sympathetic to the PKI.[18] The parliament and cabinet were purged of Sukarno loyalists. Leading PKI members were immediately arrested, some summarily executed.[14] Army leaders organised demonstrations in Jakarta[14] during which on 8 October, the PKI Jakarta headquarters was burned down.[19] Anti-Communist youth groups were formed, including the army-backed Indonesian Student's Action Front (KAMI), the Indonesian Youth and Students' Action Front (KAPPI), and the Indonesian Graduates Action Front (KASI).[16] In Jakarta and West Java, over 10,000 PKI activists and leaders were arrested, including famed novelist Pramoedya.[16]

The initial deaths occurred during organised clashes between the army and the PKI including Indonesian armed forces units who were sympathetic to communism and were trying to forcibly resist General Suharto's crackdown. For example, much of the Marine Corps, the Air Force, and the Brigade of Police (Brimob) were infiltrated up to commander level by the PKI.[20] In early October, forces of the Strategic Command (Suharto's KOSTRAD), and the RPKAD paracommandos led by Colonel Sarwo Edhie Wibowo were sent to Central Java, a region with strong Communist allegiances, while troops of uncertain loyalty were ordered out.[16] At the same time, the Siliwangi Division was deployed to guard Jakarta and West Java, both of which, unlike Central and East Java, remained relatively immune to the mass killings.[21] Early fighting in the Central Java highlands and around Madiun suggested the PKI might be able to establish a rival regime centred on these regions. However, widespread fears of a civil war, between factions supported by the United States and China respectively, quickly evaporated, as the forces sent by Suharto took control.[20] Many rebel commanders chose not to fight as Suharto-deployed forces arrived, although resistance came from some, like General Supardjo, for a few more weeks.[15]

As the Sukarno presidency began to unravel and Suharto began to assert control following the coup attempt, the PKI's upper national leadership was hunted and arrested with some summarily executed. In early October, PKI chairman Dipa Nusantara Aidit had flown to Central Java, where the coup attempt had been supported by leftist officers in Yogyakarta, Salatiga, and Semarang.[14] Fellow senior PKI leader, Njoto, was shot around 6 November, Aidit on 22 November, and First Deputy PKI Chairman M.H. Lukman was killed shortly thereafter.[22]

The killings[edit]

The killings started in October 1965 in Jakarta, spread to Central and East Java and later to Bali, and smaller outbreaks occurred in parts of other islands, including Sumatra.[17][23] The communal tensions and hatreds that had built up were played upon by the Army leadership who characterized Communists as villains, and many Indonesian civilians took part in the killings.[24] The worst massacres were in Central and East Java[25] where PKI support was at its strongest. The situation varied across the country and the role of the Army has never been fully explained.[26] In some areas the Army organised, encouraged, trained, and supplied civilian groups and local militias.[23] In other areas, communal vigilante action preceded the Army, although in most cases killings did not commence before military units had sanctioned violence by instruction or example.[27] It was in the earlier stages of the killings that the army's direct involvement in clashes with the PKI occurred.[20] By the end of October, groups of devout Muslims joined the purge of Communists claiming it was their duty to cleanse Indonesia of atheism.[20]

In some areas, civilian militia knew where to find known Communists and their sympathisers, while in others the Army demanded lists of Communists from village heads.[28] PKI membership was not disguised and most suspects were easily identified within communities.[29] The American Embassy in Jakarta supplied the Indonesian military with lists of up to 5,000 suspected Communists.[5] Although some PKI branches organised resistance and reprisal killings, most went passively to their deaths.[30] Not all victims were PKI members. Often the label "PKI" was used to include anyone to the left of the Indonesian National Party (PNI).[31] In other cases victims were suspected or simply alleged Communists.[16]

Methods of killing included shooting, dismembering alive[32] and beheading with Japanese-style samurai swords. Corpses were often thrown into rivers, and at one point officials complained to the Army that the rivers running into the city of Surabaya were clogged with bodies. In areas such as Kediri in East Java, Nahdlatul Ulama youth wing (Ansor) members lined up Communists, cut their throats and disposed of the bodies in rivers.[33] Rows of severed penises were often left behind as a reminder to the rest.[34] The killings left whole sections of villages empty, and the houses of victims or the interned were looted and often handed over to the military.[31]

Local Chinese were killed in some areas, and their properties looted and burned as a result of anti-Chinese racism on the excuse that Aidit had brought the PKI closer to China.[31] In the predominantly Christian islands of Nusa Tenggara, Christian clergy and teachers suffered at the hands of Muslim youth.[26]

Although there were occasional and isolated flare ups until 1969, the killings largely subsided by March 1966,[35] when either there were no more suspects, or authorities intervened.[36] Solo residents said that exceptionally high flooding in March 1966 of the Solo River, considered mystical by the Javanese, signaled the end of the killings.[36]

Of all countries, Swedish arms supplies seem to have been the most substantial. According to a report by an Indonesian refugee in Japan, from early December 1965, Indonesia signed "a contract with Sweden for an emergency purchase of $10,000,000 worth of small arms and ammunition to be used for annihilating elements of the PKI." Concerns about the slaughter at the Swedish Embassy did grow some months later, but apparently after the fact.[37]

Java[edit]

In Java, much of the killing was along aliran (cultural stream) loyalties; the Army encouraged santri (more devout and orthodox Muslims) among the Javanese to seek out PKI members among the abangan (less orthodox) Javanese.[38] The killings extended to more than PKI members. In Java, for example, many considered "left PNI" were killed. Others were just suspects[36] or were the victims of grievance settling with little or no political motive.[36][38] Anti-Communist killings were then instigated with youths, assisted by the Army, hunting down Communists.[39]

Conflict that had broken out in 1963 between the Muslim party Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and the PKI turned to killing in the second week of October.[16] The Muslim group Muhammadiyah proclaimed in early November 1965 that the extermination of "Gestapu/PKI" constituted Holy War ("Gestapu" being the military's name for the "30 September Movement"), a position that was supported by other Islamic groups in Java and Sumatra. For many youths, killing Communists became a religious duty.[40] Where there had been Communist centres in Central and East Java, Muslim groups portraying themselves as victims of Communist aggression justified the killings by evoking the Madiun Affair of 1948.[31] Roman Catholic students in the Yogyakarta region left their hostels at night to join in the execution of truckloads of arrested Communists.[36]

Although, for most of the country, the killings subsided in the first months of 1966, in parts of East Java the killings went on for years. In Blitar, guerrilla action was maintained by surviving PKI members until they were defeated in 1967 and 1968.[41] The mystic Mbah Suro, and devotees of his Communist-infused traditional mysticism, built an army, but Suro and eighty of his followers were killed in a war of resistance against the Indonesian Army.[41]

Bali[edit]

Mirroring the widening of social divisions across Indonesia in the 1950s and early 1960s, the island of Bali saw conflict between supporters of the traditional Balinese caste system, and those rejecting these traditional values, particularly the PKI. Communists were publicly accused of working towards the destruction of the island's culture, religion, and character, and the Balinese, like the Javanese, were urged to destroy the PKI. Government jobs, funds, business advantage and other spoils of office had gone to Communists during the final years of Sukarno's presidency.[42] Disputes over land and tenants' rights led to land seizures and killings, when the PKI promoted "unilateral action".[43] As Indonesia's only Hindu-dominated island, Bali did not have the Islamic forces involved in Java, and it was upper-caste PNI landlords who instigated the elimination of PKI members.[38] High Hindu priests called for sacrifices to satisfy spirits angered by past sacrilege and social disruption.[36] Balinese Hindu leader, Ida Bagus Oka, told Hindus: "There can be no doubt [that] the enemies of our revolution are also the cruelest enemies of religion, and must be eliminated and destroyed down to the roots."[44] Like parts of East Java, Bali experienced a state of near civil war as Communists regrouped.[31]

The balance of power was shifted in favour of anti-Communists in December 1965, when the Army Para-commando Regiment and Brawijaya units arrived in Bali after having carried out killings in Java. Led by Suharto's principal trouble shooter, Sarwo Edhie, Javanese military commanders permitted Balinese squads to kill until reined in.[45] In contrast to Central Java where the Army encouraged people to kill the "Gestapu", on Bali eagerness to kill was so great and spontaneous that, having initially provided logistic support, the Army eventually had to step in to prevent chaos.[46] Sukarno's choice of provincial governor for Bali, Sutedja, was recalled from office and accused of preparing a communist uprising, and his relatives were tracked down and killed.[47] A series of killings similar to those in Central and East Java were led by black-shirted PNI youth. For several months, militia death squads went through villages capturing suspects and taking them away.[31] Hundreds of houses belonging to communists and their relatives were burnt down within one week of the reprisal crusade being launched on Bali, with occupants being butchered as they ran from their homes. An early estimate suggested that 50,000 people, including women and children, were killed in this operation alone. The populations of several Balinese villages were halved in the last months of 1965.[48] All the Chinese shops in the towns of Singaraja and Denpasar were destroyed and their owners killed after summary stand-up judgements found them to have financially supported the "Gestapu".[48] Between December 1965 and early 1966, an estimated 80,000 Balinese were killed, roughly five percent of the island's population at the time, and proportionally more than anywhere else in Indonesia.[49]

Sumatra[edit]

PKI-organised squatters' movements and campaigns against foreign businesses in Sumatra's plantations provoked quick reprisals against Communists, following the Jakarta coup attempt. In Aceh as many as 40,000 were killed, part of the possibly 200,000 deaths across Sumatra.[14] The regional revolts of the late 1950s complicated events in Sumatra as many former rebels were forced to affiliate themselves with Communist organizations to prove their loyalty to the Indonesian Republic. The quelling of the 1950s revolts and 1965 killings were seen by most Sumatrans as a "Javanese occupation".[14] In Lampung, another factor in the killings seems to have been Javanese immigration.[26]

Kalimantan[edit]

In West Kalimantan, approximately eighteen months after the worst of the killings in Java, indigenous pagan Dayaks expelled 45,000 ethnic Chinese from rural areas, killing up to 5,000.[26] The Chinese refused to fight back, since they considered themselves "a guest on other people's land" with the intention of trading only.[50][51]

Religion[edit]

Islam in Java was divided between Abangan, who mixed Islam with other religions like Hinduism and native religious practices, and the Santri, who followed standard orthodox Islam. Many Abangans were supporters of the Communist Party.[52][53][54] The impoverished Abangan interests were supported by the PKI Communists.[55]

Abangan Muslim Communists made up most of the people who were slaughtered in the mass killings.[56][57] Abangans were targeted for attacks by Ansor, the youth group of Nahdlatul Ulama.[58] Abangan PKI members were slaughtered by the Santri with help from the Indonesian Army.[59]

Abangan Muslims were forced by the Indonesian government to convert to Hinduism and Christianity in the aftermath of the slaughter, to dissociate them from Communism.[60]

The Abangan felt pressured into choosing either Hinduism or Christianity in the aftermath of the killings to avoid being classified as atheist communists.[61][62][63]

Ethnic factors[edit]

Sumatran youths massacred Javanese plantation laborers who made up the membership of the PKI in North Sumatra.[64]

Role of anti-Chinese prejudice[edit]

Targeting of ethnic Chinese played an important role in the killings in Sumatra and Kalimantan, which have been called genocides. Charles A. Coppel is sharply critical of this characterization, in which he sees a western media and academics unwilling to face the consequences of an anti-communist agenda that they endorsed,[65] instead scapegoating Indonesian racism and indulging in extravagant and false claims of hundreds of thousands or millions of Chinese killed.[66] Charles Coppel wrote of the distorted coverage in an article titled: "A genocide that never was: explaining the myth of anti-Chinese massacres in Indonesia, 1965–66". Coppel sees the same bias in coverage of the May 1998 riots of Indonesia, where the Volunteer Team for Humanity noted non-Chinese looters made up the majority of those who were killed.[67] His thesis continues to inspire debate.[68]

Commentators have mistakenly claimed that hundreds of thousands of Chinese Indonesians were killed, but this number is certainly incorrect. The killings targeted members of the Communist Party of Indonesia, and few Chinese Indonesians were members. The best estimate is that around 2,000 Chinese Indonesians were killed (out of a total death toll of 500,000), with documented massacres taking place in Makassar and Medan and on the island of Lombok.[69] Robert Cribb and Charles A. Coppel noted that "relatively few" Chinese were actually killed during the purge while the majority of the dead were Indonesian Communists.[70] The death toll of Chinese was in the thousands while the death toll of non-Chinese Indonesians was in the hundreds of thousands. Balinese and Javanese made up the majority of people who were massacred.[71]

Indigenous, non-Muslim, pagan Dayaks expelled 45,000 ethnic Chinese from rural areas, killing 2,000-5,000.[26] The Chinese refused to fight back, since they considered themselves "a guest on other people's land" with the intention of trading only.[72][73]

Deaths and imprisonment[edit]

Although the general outline of events is known, much is unknown about the killings,[23] and an accurate and verified count of the dead is unlikely to ever be known.[74] There were few Western journalists or academics in Indonesia at the time, the military was one of the few sources of information, travel was difficult and dangerous, and the regime that approved and oversaw the killings remained in power for three decades.[75] The Indonesian media at the time had been undermined by restrictions under "Guided Democracy" and by the "New Order's" takeover in October 1966.[76] With the killings occurring at the height of Western fears over the Cold War, there was little investigation internationally, which would have risked complicating the West's preference for Suharto and the "New Order" over the PKI and the "Old Order".[77]

In the first 20 years following the killings, 39 serious estimates of the death toll were attempted.[46] Before the killings had finished, the Indonesian army estimated 78,500 had been killed,[78] while the PKI put the figure at 2 million.[46] The Indonesian army later[when?] estimated the number killed to be 1 million.[41] In 1966, Benedict Anderson had set the death toll at 200,000. By 1985 he concluded that a total of 500,000 to 1 million people had been killed.[46] Most scholars now agree that at least half a million were killed,[79] thus more than in any other event in Indonesian history.[38] An armed forces security command[which?] estimate from December 1976 put the number at between 450,000 and 500,000.[36] A 2012 documentary by Joshua Oppenheimer, The Act of Killing, places the number of deaths between 1 and 3 million people.[80][81]

Arrests and imprisonment continued for ten years after the purge.[38] A 1977 Amnesty International report suggested "about one million" PKI cadres and others identified or suspected of party involvement were detained.[46] Between 1981 and 1990, the Indonesian Government estimated that there were between 1.6 and 1.8 million former prisoners "at large" in society.[82] It is possible that in the mid 1970s, 100,000 were still imprisoned without trial.[83] It is thought that as many as 1.5 million were imprisoned at one stage or another.[84] Those PKI members not killed or imprisoned went into hiding while others tried to hide their past.[38] Those arrested included leading politicians, artists and writers such as Pramoedya, and peasants and soldiers. Many did not survive this first period of detention, dying from malnutrition and beatings.[41] As people revealed the names of underground Communists, often under torture, the numbers imprisoned rose from 1966–68. Those released were often placed under house arrest, had to regularly report to the military, or were banned from Government employment, as were their children.[41]

Many suspected communists were shot, as well as beheaded, strangled, or had their throats slit by the military and Islamic groups. The killings were "done face to face", unlike mechanical processes of mass killing in Democratic Kampuchea or Nazi Germany.[85]

Foreign involvement and reaction[edit]

To Western governments, the killings and purges were seen as a victory over Communism at the height of the Cold War. Western governments and much of the West's media preferred Suharto and the "New Order" to the PKI and the increasingly leftist "Old Order".[86] The British ambassador, Andrew Gilchrist, wrote to London: "I never concealed from you my belief that a little shooting in Indonesia would be an essential preliminary to effective change.[87] News of the massacre was carefully controlled by Western intelligence agencies. Journalists, prevented from entering Indonesia, relied on the official statements from Western embassies. The British embassy in Jakarta advised intelligence headquarters in Singapore on how the news should be presented: "Suitable propaganda themes might be: PKI brutality in murdering Generals, ... PKI subverting Indonesia as agents of foreign Communists. ... British participation should be carefully concealed."[88]

A headline in US News and World Report read: "Indonesia: Hope... where there was once none".[89] Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt commented in The New York Times, "With 500,000 to 1 million Communist sympathizers knocked off, I think it is safe to assume a reorientation has taken place."[90] Time magazine described the suppression of the PKI as "The West's best news for years in Asia,"[91] and praised Suharto's regime as "scrupulously constitutional."[92] "It was a triumph for Western propaganda," Robert Challis, a BBC reporter in the area, later reflected.[92]

In recalling the attitudes of U.S. government officials regarding the killings, State Department intelligence officer Howard Federspiel said that "no one cared, as long as they were Communists, that they were being butchered."[93] Within the United States, Robert F. Kennedy was one of the only prominent individuals to condemn the massacres. In January 1966 he said: "We have spoken out against the inhuman slaughters perpetrated by the Nazis and the Communists. But will we speak out also against the inhuman slaughter in Indonesia, where over 100,000 alleged Communists have not been perpetrators, but victims?"[94]

The Communist states, by contrast, issued strong criticism of the killings. The Chinese government stated they were "heinous and diabolical crimes ... unprecedented in history."[94] One Yugoslav diplomat commented that "even assuming the guilt of the politburo [PKI leadership], which I do not, does this justify genocide? Kill the Central Committee, but do not kill 100,000 people who do not know and had no part in it [the 30 September Plot]."[94] The Suharto government was condemned as a "military fascist regime" by the government of North Korea.[94]

The UN avoided commenting on the killings.[94]

According to Kathy Kadane, members of the U.S. government provided targeted names to the Indonesian Army,[4] which several US officials have denied.[95] Internal memos reported an Indonesian request for "communications equipment and small arms to arm Moslem and nationalist youths in Central Java for use against the PKI", which the State Department refused.[96] H. W. Brands wrote that the Johnson administration expressly refused to supply weapons for the mass killing of Indonesian communists.[97] According to Robert Cribb, there is no evidence that the United States significantly increased the scale of the killings.[98]

However, Mark Aarons argues that declassified intelligence reports indicate that "the CIA actually compiled detailed lists of those it deemed dangerous and supplied them to Suharto's forces who ensured those so named were eliminated in the mass killing operations."[7] Alex Bellamy concurs, noting the Indonesian army used a list containing some 5,000 names of suspected PKI members, which was provided to them by the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, to identify some victims.[6]

Bradley Simpson, Director of the Indonesia/East Timor Documentation Project at the National Security Archive, claims that "the United States was directly involved to the extent that they provided the Indonesian Armed Forces with assistance that they introduced to help facilitate the mass killings," which included the CIA providing small arms from Thailand, and the U.S. government providing monetary assistance and limited amounts of communications equipment, medicine and a range of other items, including shoes and uniforms, to the Indonesian military.[99][100][101] In a 2008 program on the killings presented by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Bradley Simpson states:

Documentary Filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer, director of The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence, called on the U.S. to account for its role in the killings during a screening of the former for U.S. congress members.[103] On 10 December 2014, the same day The Act of Killing was released in Indonesia, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced a "Sense of the Senate Resolution" which condemned the killings and called for the declassification of all documents pertaining to U.S. involvement in the events, noting that "the U.S. provided financial and military assistance during this time and later, according to documents released by the State Department."[104][105]

Impact[edit]

Sukarno's balancing act of "Nasakom" (nationalism, religion, communism) had been unraveled. His most significant pillar of support, the PKI, had been effectively eliminated by the other two pillars—the army and political Islam; and the army was on the way to unchallenged power.[106] Many Muslims were no longer trusting of Sukarno, and by early 1966, Suharto began to openly defy Sukarno, a policy which had previously been avoided by army leaders. Sukarno attempted to cling to power and mitigate the new-found influence of the army, although he could not bring himself to blame the PKI for the coup as demanded by Suharto.[107] On 1 February 1966, Sukarno promoted Suharto to the rank of Lieutenant General.[108] The Supersemar decree of 11 March 1966 transferred much of Sukarno's power over the parliament and army to Suharto,[109] ostensibly allowing Suharto to do whatever was needed to restore order. On 12 March 1967 Sukarno was stripped of his remaining power by Indonesia's provisional Parliament, and Suharto named Acting President.[110] On 21 March 1968, the Provisional Peoples Representative Assembly formally elected Suharto as president.[111]

Several hundred or thousand Indonesian leftists travelling abroad were unable to return to their homeland.[112] Djawoto, the ambassador to China, refused to be recalled and spent the rest of his life outside of Indonesia.[113] Some of these exiles, writers by trade, continued writing. This Indonesian exile literature was full of hatred for the new government and written simply, for general consumption, but necessarily published internationally.[114]

The 1965–1966 killings served as a direct precedent for the genocidal invasion and occupation of East Timor. The same generals oversaw the killing in both situations, and encouraged equally brutal methods—with impunity.[115]

Legacy and historiography[edit]

The mass slaughter of 1965–1966 was heavily tabooed in Indonesia, and if mentioned is usually called peristiwa enam lima, the incident of '65.[116] Inside and outside Indonesia, public discussion of the killings increased during the 1990s and especially after the fall of Suharto in 1998. Jailed and exiled members of the Sukarno regime, as well as ordinary people, told their stories in increasing numbers. Foreign researchers felt more empowered to publish on the topic, with the end of intimidation by the military regime.[117][116]

The killings are skipped over in most Indonesian histories, and have received little introspection by Indonesians and comparatively little international attention.[118] Indonesian textbooks typically depict the killings as a "patriotic campaign" that resulted in less than 80,000 deaths. In 2004, the textbooks were briefly changed to include the events, but this new curriculum was abandoned in 2006 following protests from the military and Islamic groups.[85] The textbooks which mentioned the mass killings were subsequently burnt,[85] by order of Indonesia's Attorney General.[119] John Roosa's Pretext for Mass Murder (2006) was initially banned by the Attorney General's Office.[120]

The Indonesian Parliament set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to analyse the mass killings, but it was suspended by the Indonesian High Court. An academic conference regarding the killings was held in Singapore in 2009.[85] A hesitant search for mass graves by survivors and family members began after 1998, although little has been found. Over three decades later, great enmity remains in Indonesian society over the events.[117] The film The Year of Living Dangerously, based around events leading up to the killings, internationally released in 1982, was banned in Indonesia until 1999.

Satisfactory explanations for the scale and frenzy of the violence have challenged scholars from all ideological perspectives. One view attributes the communal hatreds behind the killings to the forcing of parliamentary democracy onto Indonesian society, claiming that such changes were culturally unsuitable and unnecessarily disruptive in the post-independence 1950s. A contrasting view is that when Sukarno and the military replaced the democratic process with authoritarianism, competing interests—i.e., the army, political Islam, and Communism—could not be openly debated, rather they were suppressed and could only be expressed through violence.[107] Conflict resolution methods have broken down, and Muslim groups and the military adopted an "us or them attitude", and that when the killings were over, many Indonesians dismissed as something the Communists had deserved.[107] The possibility of a return to similar upheavals is cited as a factor in the "New Order" administration's political conservatism and tight control of the political system.[26] Vigilance against a Communist threat remained a hallmark of Suharto's thirty-year presidency.[121]

Films[edit]

When Suharto was still ruler, a film supporting the New Order's version of events, Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI (Betrayal of Indonesia Communist Party) was broadcast annually on the government television station TVRI every 30 September. This version was the only one allowed in open discourse in the country.[122] After Suharto's removal from power, many people, including those involved, told other versions of the events in various books and films. One, the documentary film The Act of Killing, included interviews with individuals who had participated in the mass killings,[123] and its companion piece The Look of Silence follows one grieving family trying to understand why it happened and exposes how those behind the Indonesian genocide still revel in their crimes 50 years on, including boasting on camera how they dismembered, eviscerated, castrated and beheaded alleged communists.[124][125]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Allan & Zeilzer 2004, p. ??.
    Westad (2005, p. 113, 129) notes that, prior to the mid-1950s, by which time the relationship was in definite trouble, the US actually had, via the CIA, developed excellent contacts with Sukarno.
  2. ^ http://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.b3605665?urlappend=%3Bseq=440
  3. ^ Macaulay, Scott (17 February 2014). The Act of Killing Wins Documentary BAFTA; Director Oppenheimer’s Speech Edited Online. Filmmaker. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  4. ^ a b San Francisco Examiner, 20 May 1990; The Washington Post, 21 May 1990.
  5. ^ a b Vickers (2005), p. 157; Friend (2003), p. 117.
  6. ^ a b Bellamy, J. (2012). Massacres and Morality: Mass Atrocities in an Age of Civilian Immunity. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199288429. p. 210.
  7. ^ a b David A. Blumenthal and Timothy L. H. McCormack (2007). The Legacy of Nuremberg: Civilising Influence or Institutionalised Vengeance? (International Humanitarian Law). Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. ISBN 9004156917 pp. 80–81.
  8. ^ Schwarz (1994), pp. 16–18
  9. ^ cf with Weiner (2007) p.259
  10. ^ Cribb (1990), p. 41.
  11. ^ Schwarz (1994), pp. 17, 21.
  12. ^ President Sukarno, speech on independence day, 17 August 1964
  13. ^ a b Andrew John Rotter (Edt.), Light at the and of the tunnel, p.273, Rowman & Littlefield Publ., 2010 ,ISBN 9780742561335
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Vickers (2005), p. 157.
  15. ^ a b c Vittachi (1967), p. 139
  16. ^ a b c d e f Ricklefs (1991), p. 287.
  17. ^ a b Schwarz (1994), p. 20.
  18. ^ Schwarz (1994), p. 21
  19. ^ Vickers (2005), p. 157; Ricklefs (1991), p. 287
  20. ^ a b c d Vittachi (1967), p. 138
  21. ^ Vittachi (1967), p. 141
  22. ^ Ricklefs (1991), p. 288; Vickers (2005), p. 157
  23. ^ a b c Cribb (1990), p. 3.
  24. ^ Taylor (2003), p. 357.
  25. ^ Ricklefs (1991), page 287; Schwarz (1994), p. 20.
  26. ^ a b c d e f Schwarz (1994), p. 21.
  27. ^ Vickers (2005), pages 158–159; Cribb (1990), pp. 3,21.
  28. ^ Taylor (2003), p.357/
  29. ^ McDonald (1980), page 52
  30. ^ McDonald (1980), p. 53; Friend (2003), p. 115.
  31. ^ a b c d e f Vickers (2005), p. 158
  32. ^ David A. Blumenthal (2008). The Legacy of Nuremberg: Civilising Influence Or Institutionalised Vengeance?. Koninklijke Brill NV. p. 80. 
  33. ^ Vickers (2005), p. 158; Schwarz (1994), p. 21.
  34. ^ Gerard DeGroot (2008). The Sixties Unplugged: A Kaleidoscopic History of a Disorderly Decade. Macmillan. p. 389. 
  35. ^ Cribb (1990), p. 3; Ricklefs (1991), p. 288; McDonald (1980), p. 53.
  36. ^ a b c d e f g McDonald (1980), p. 53.
  37. ^ Christian Gerlach (2010). Extremely Violent Societies: Mass Violence in the Twentieth-Century World. Cambridge University Press. p. 83. 
  38. ^ a b c d e f Ricklefs (1991), p. 288.
  39. ^ Ricklefs (1991), pp. 287–288
  40. ^ Ricklefs (1991), p. 288; Schwarz (1994), p. 21.
  41. ^ a b c d e Vickers (2005), p. 159.
  42. ^ Taylor (2003), p. 358
  43. ^ Taylor (2003), p. 358; Robinson (1995), pp. 299–302.
  44. ^ Robinson (1995), pp. 299–302.
  45. ^ Taylor (2003), p. 359; Vickers (2005), p. 158; Vittachi (1967), p. 143
  46. ^ a b c d e Friend (2003), p. 113.
  47. ^ Taylor (2003), p. 358; Robinson (1995), pp. 299–302; Vittachi (1967), p. 143
  48. ^ a b Vittachi (1967), p. 143
  49. ^ Friend (2003), p. 111; Taylor (2003), p. 358; Vickers (2005), p. 159; Robinson (1995), p. ch. 11.
  50. ^ John Braithwaite (2010). Anomie and violence: non-truth and reconciliation in Indonesian peacebuilding. ANU E Press. p. 294. ISBN 1-921666-22-6. Retrieved 15 Dec 2011. In 1967, Dayaks had expelled Chinese from the interior of West Kalimantan. In this Chinese ethnic cleansing, Dayaks were coopted by the military who wanted to remove those Chinese from the interior who they believed were supporting communists. The most certain way to accomplish this was to drive all Chinese out of the interior of West Kalimantan. Perhaps 2000–5000 people were massacred (Davidson 2002:158) and probably a greater number died from the conditions in overcrowded refugee camps, including 1500 Chinese children aged between one and eight who died of starvation in Pontianak camps (p. 173). The Chinese retreated permanently to the major towns...the Chinese in West Kalimantan rarely resisted (though they had in nineteenth century conflict with the Dutch, and in 1914). Instead, they fled. One old Chinese man who fled to Pontianak in 1967 said that the Chinese did not even consider or discuss striking back at Dayaks as an option. This was because they were imbued with a philosophy of being a guest on other people's land to become a great trading diaspora. 
  51. ^ Eva-Lotta E. Hedman (2008). Eva-Lotta E. Hedman, ed. Conflict, violence, and displacement in indonesia. SOSEA-45 Series (illustrated ed.). SEAP Publications. p. 63. ISBN 0-87727-745-1. Retrieved 15 Dec 2011. the role of indigenous Dayak leaders accounted for their "success." Regional officers and interested Dayak leaderes helped to translate the virulent anti-community environment locally into an evident anti-Chinese sentiment. In the process, the rural Chinese were sonstructed as godless communists complicit with members of the local Indonesian Communist Party...In October 1967, the military, with the help of the former Dayak Governor Oevaang Oeray and his Lasykar Pangsuma (Pangsuma Militia) instigated and facilitated a Dayak-led slaughter of ethnic Chinese. Over the next three months, thousands were killed and roughly 75,000 more fled Sambas and norther Pontianak districts to coastal urban centers like Pontianak City and Singkawang to be sheltered in refugee and "detainment" camps. By expelling the "community" Chinese, Oeray and his gang... intended to ingratiate themselves with Suharto's new regime. 
  52. ^ Donald Hindley (1966). The Communist Party of Indonesia: 1951-1963. University of California Press. pp. 12–. GGKEY:LLE8C4X460W. 
  53. ^ John H. Badgley; John Wilson Lewis (1974). Peasant Rebellion and Communist Revolution in Asia. Stanford University Press. pp. 108–. ISBN 978-0-8047-0856-2. 
  54. ^ Solidarity, Volume 3, Issues 7-12 1968, p. 16.
  55. ^ Crouch 2007, p. 155.
  56. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=BHUPunyir8QC&pg=PA84&dq=abangan+bali+killed&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CFEQ6AEwBmoVChMI7dqLnbOOxwIViRk-Ch0tdgxH#v=onepage&q=abangan%20bali%20killed&f=false Darmaputera 1988], p. 84.
  57. ^ McDonald 2015
  58. ^ Cribb & Kahin 2004, p. 264.
  59. ^ Ricklefs 2008, p. 327.
  60. ^ Mariko Urano (2010). The Limits of Tradition: Peasants and Land Conflicts in Indonesia. Kyoto University Press. pp. 145–. ISBN 978-1-920901-77-6. 
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  62. ^ Brita Heimarck Renee (21 August 2013). Balinese Discourses on Music and Modernization: Village Voices and Urban Views. Taylor & Francis. pp. 198–. ISBN 978-1-136-80045-0. 
  63. ^ Michel Picard; Rémy Madinier (13 May 2011). The Politics of Religion in Indonesia: Syncretism, Orthodoxy, and Religious Contention in Java and Bali. Taylor & Francis. pp. 182–. ISBN 978-1-136-72639-2. 
  64. ^ Blank 1993, p. 289.
  65. ^ Coppel 2008, p. 122.
  66. ^ Coppel 2008, p. 118.
  67. ^ Coppel 2008, p. 119.
  68. ^ Melvin, Jess (2013), Not Genocide? Anti-Chinese Violence in Aceh, 1965– 1966, in: Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 32, 3, 63–91. ISSN: 1868-4882 (online), ISSN: 1868-1034 (print)
  69. ^ Tan 2008, pp. 240–242.
  70. ^ Cribb 2009.
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  72. ^ John Braithwaite (2010). Anomie and violence: non-truth and reconciliation in Indonesian peacebuilding. ANU E Press. p. 294. ISBN 1-921666-22-6. Retrieved 15 Dec 2011. In 1967, Dayaks had expelled Chinese from the interior of West Kalimantan. In this Chinese ethnic cleansing, Dayaks were coopted by the military who wanted to remove those Chinese from the interior who they believed were supporting communists. The most certain way to accomplish this was to drive all Chinese out of the interior of West Kalimantan. Perhaps 2000–5000 people were massacred (Davidson 2002:158) and probably a greater number died from the conditions in overcrowded refugee camps, including 1500 Chinese children aged between one and eight who died of starvation in Pontianak camps (p. 173). The Chinese retreated permanently to the major towns...the Chinese in West Kalimantan rarely resisted (though they had in nineteenth century conflict with the Dutch, and in 1914). Instead, they fled. One old Chinese man who fled to Pontianak in 1967 said that the Chinese did not even consider or discuss striking back at Dayaks as an option. This was because they were imbued with a philosophy of being a guest on other people's land to become a great trading diaspora. 
  73. ^ Eva-Lotta E. Hedman (2008). Eva-Lotta E. Hedman, ed. Conflict, violence, and displacement in indonesia. SOSEA-45 Series (illustrated ed.). SEAP Publications. p. 63. ISBN 0-87727-745-1. Retrieved 15 Dec 2011. 
  74. ^ Cribb (1990), p. 14.
  75. ^ Cribb (1990), pp. 3–4
  76. ^ Crouch (1978), pp. 65–66; Oey Hong Lee (1971).
  77. ^ Cribb (1990), p. 5.
  78. ^ Crouch (1978), cited in Cribb (1990). p. 7.
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  89. ^ US News and World Report, 6 June 1966
  90. ^ Raymont, Henry (6 July 1966). "Holt Says U.S. Actions Protect All Non-Red Asia". The New York Times. p. 5. 
  91. ^ Samuel Totten, William Parsons, Israel Charny (1997). Century of Genocide: Eyewitness Accounts and Critical Views. pg. 245. Routledge; 1 edition. ISBN 0815323530
  92. ^ a b Gerard DeGroot (2008). The Sixties Unplugged: A Kaleidoscopic History of a Disorderly Decade. Macmillan. p. 390. 
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  95. ^ Wines, Michael (12 July 1990). "C.I.A. Tie Asserted in Indonesia Purge". The New York Times. 
  96. ^ Telegram From Embassy in Thailand to Department of State, 5 November 1965; reply, 6 November 1965; available at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/frus/johnsonlb/xxvi/4446.htm
  97. ^ H. W. Brands, "The Limits of Manipulation: How the United States Didn’t Topple Sukarno," Journal of American History, December 1989, p. 803.
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  102. ^ Accomplices in Atrocity. The Indonesian killings of 1965 (transcript). Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 7 September 2008
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  104. ^ "The Look of Silence": Will New Film Force U.S. to Acknowledge Role in 1965 Indonesian Genocide? Democracy Now! 3 August 2015.
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  107. ^ a b c Schwarz (1994), p. 22.
  108. ^ "Sukarno Removes His Defense Chief". New York Times. 22 February 1965. 
  109. ^ Vickers (2005), page 160
  110. ^ Schwartz (1994), page 2
  111. ^ Ricklefs (1991), p. 295.
  112. ^ Hill 2008, p. 2.
  113. ^ Encyclopedia of Jakarta. Djawoto
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  115. ^ Thaler, Kai (August/December 2012). "Foreshadowing Future Slaughter: From the Indonesian Killings of 1965–1966 to the 1974–1999 Genocide in East Timor". Genocide Studies and Prevention Vol. 7, No. 2/3, pp. 204–222. "There were many parallels between the two mass killings committed by the New Order: the involvement of the same clique of generals; allegations of Communism; targeting of Chinese; gender and sexual violence; tactics like pagar betis and the delegation of violence to non-state actors; and a violent rhetoric of extermination, often couched in biological and genetic terms. Another common factor is that there has been no prosecution of the perpetrators in either case."
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  119. ^ Teaching and Remembering Inside Indonesia History Textbooks Suharto Era Transitional Justice. People.uncw.edu. Retrieved on 25 December 2010.
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  122. ^ Heryanto, Ariel (2006). State Terrorism and Political Identity in Indonesia: Fatally Belonging. New York: Routledge. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-415-37152-0. 
  123. ^ kelam negara indonesia "Sisi Kelam Negara Indonesia". 11 December 2013. 
  124. ^ "Joshua Oppenheimer: why I returned to Indonesia’s killing fields". 7 June 2015. 
  125. ^ Michael Atkinson (16 July 2015). A Quiet Return to the Killing Fields of Indonesia. In These Times. Retrieved 16 July 2015.

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